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1 Votes

Striking from the skies: A guide to offensive Skywrath

July 29, 2013 by TenshiN
Comments: 6    |    Views: 18983    |   

Pew pew pew! Nuked you!

DotA2 Hero: Skywrath Mage

Hero Skills

Arcane Bolt

2 3 5 7

Concussive Shot

1 8 9 12 13

Ancient Seal

4 10 14 15

Mystic Flare

6 11 16


17 18


Hello, the readers of this guide, i am Tenshi'N, and today i present you my 3rd guide, which features one of the newer Dota2 heroes, Dragonus, The Skywrath Mage! Although, it will be dedicated to build this hero with a little to no regard to defense, but buffing your offensive potential to infinity and beyond, so keep it in mind, as it is not the most standard way to build him.

General info:

The Skywrath Mage is an intelligence hero, and is classified as nuker/support by the game makers, but can also be an effective ganker, given the right timings. His starting damage is decent for an intelligence hero, his attack animation is easily adabtable to. He has a great base movement speed, but lacks health, and, a major issue later, armor. Although also having quite a bunch of hard counters, he has a ridiculously high nuking potential, with an added movespeed slow to your opponent, spammable single-target Silence with an added magic damage increase, mearly machinegun-kind of cooldown on his main nuke and a devastating ultimate. So, as you can guess, Dragonus is a pure "Glass-cannon" type of hero, and we will play him as such :)


1. Arcane Bolt
Your spammable nuke, and the only nuke-spell that scales with your own levels too! Deals a set amount of magical damage, with an added bonus damage which is 1.6x your intelligence! Also has a good range. This, and 2-second cooldown on lv4 makes up a really dangerous spell. Its only downside will be its pretty slow movement speed.
2. Concussive shot
A high-range spell which is automatically fired upon the closest enemy hero in range, damages and slows him, and other heroes in a small AOE. Its damage is not that large and the spell itself is not spammable, it has a nice 40% slow and an AOE, which is useful. Will do nothing if there are no visible heroes in range.
3. Ancient Seal
An ever-so-useful spell which silences an enemy hero while also increasing the amount of magical damage he receives from your entire team. 36% magical defense reduce, 6-second silence, and a pretty short 11-second cooldown makes this, coupled up with Concussive Shot a very effective tool to gank characters with a skill-based escape mechanism.
4. Mystic Flare
Oh, your sweet ultimate. Conjures up a storm at a target point which will deal a huge damage over time to heroes who happen to be there. The damage, though, is distributed equally among all the enemy heroes caught in its range, meaning it will deal less damage to each hero the more heroes ar caught in its range. 1200 magical damage at lv3, decent AOE and an addition of Ancient Seal will make your foes cry.


-Insane nuking potential
-Great range for his nukes
-Also a good range of autoattacks
-One of the highest Intelligence gain rates in the game (3,2 per level)
-King of midlane
-Fast movespeed

-Growth rate of other stats is bad, with only 0,8 agility per level
-Extremely squishy, especially late-game
- Black King Bar renders him useless
-Tank heroes with Blade Mail will troll you when you cast your ultimate
-Ultimate is mana-hungry and can't really be spammed

"Taking off": The early game

You spawn at the base and buy your starting items, which are: a set of Tangos and 3 Ironwood Branches, which is a typical Bottle rush. Go mid-lane, probably ask for people to let you go mid while waiting at the hero selection screen. As in most pub games even the supports won't buy the courier, remind them with a "Courier plz", or something like that. If you still doesn't have one, then don't be greedy and buy one for yourself, as it will be better for you this way, than if you won't have one at start.

With the deployment stuff all done, here comes the early-game, the time for you to shine. Harass at every possibility, and cast about 2 Arcane Bolts as soon as you will learn the spell. When you hit level 3 and get a 2nd Arcane Bolt level, start spamming it whenever you can without goind to his side of the river. (Just try to always have enough mana for a Concussive Shot, as it will help you survive a gank if one should occur on you.) This should keep the opponents away from the last-hitting, which will be especially true if you delayed your starting creep pack enough to make the opposing creeps to have to climb to your side of the river, and you know well to only do the lasthits and not to push the lane to keep it as it is. When you will get your Bottle, and your lane opponent is at about 25-30%, maybe even 40% if he is squishy, HP, or less, usually relying on his Tangoes to keep him alive and continuing farming, you may try to go in for a kill. Start charging ahead, release your Concussive Shot - Arcane Bolt in a quick succession, drink a bottle charge to get some mana back, hit him with autoattacks while the Bolt is on cooldown, and follow up with another bolt up the arse. This usually does the trick, and you will get this sweet message, informing everyone that you just got a FIRST BLOOD. If it didn't and opponet is still alive at his last hit worth of HP, then you may do a bit of towerdiving, and finish him. But do not overexert yourself, or you may die while retreating back. After that, try to control the runes, level yourself to 7 (Therefore having a maxed Arcane Bolt), and come ganking the sidelanes. If, however, the sidelane enemies have pushed too far and are wounded, then you can try to come and gank a bit earlier. Just be sure to not to die. After you hit level 7, your usual gank would look like that:
1) Find your target
The enemy sidelane has overextended? Wards detected a tricky ganker coming up your mates? Or they are struggling against an unexpected gank? An ideal situation for you to stick in!
2) Decide, whether you open with Ancient Seal or Concussive Shot
While the idea to cast Ancient Seal first to maximise your nuke damage seems logical (And it is), abusing the range of a Concussive Shot may sometimes be better. Actually, the decision is really simple. If you are [color=#ff0000]sure[/color] you can get tou the victim without scaring it off (read: it doesn't see you from the wards vision or from you bumping into his teammate on the way), then open up standard, with a [color=#00ffff]Seal[/color]. Otherwise, open with a [[Concussive shot to make his escape a bit more action-packed.
3) Start your pew-pew!
Not much to say here. Unleash your pain-inducing nukes on poor people (Or not exactly people). The only trick here is to properly land your ultimate, which is best done when your opponent is stunned and can't move away from it, or when he is slowed, sealed and trying to escape. Just throw it a bit ahead of him and watch his health rapidly drop. Other thing worthy of note, as you should try to also move while mashing your keyboard to keep the nukes coming, as it will keep you more healthy in general.

"Raining Hell": The mid-game

So, the laning is over and the teamfights start happening. You should at least have your Dagon by that time. The only thing that is worthy of note here gameplay-wise is to always stick with your team, no matter how bad they are. Unless your opponents are terribly underleveled, you will be just ripped apart if they can catch you off-position. You are, like, the squishiest of the squishy, especially considering how agressive Skywrath Mage is, gameplay-wise. Imagine yourself being a helicopter gunship which has more than enough payload to wipe off the opposition, but can't really stand too much punishment itself, and you will get what the Skywrath Mage is.Only try to kill some lone dude farming the line, if you are absolutely sure noone will come to help him. Or you may turn dead yourself. Other thing, learn to be quick with your button-pressing.

"Glorious Flight": The end-game

Not really different to mid-game, except you will get much more active-ability items, like Veil of Discord and Rod of Atos. While they both give you a great increase to your offensive potential, they also give you a bit of so much appreciated survivability. Just like i noted in the mid-game, BE LIGHTNING FAST WITH YOUR BUTTONMASHING, as all your items (Except Boots if you haven't upgraded them) will be active and will require to be triggered in order to get the full kick from em. You will still wish to stay with your team, as you are still not the tankiest hero arund. However, if you are doing well, and already finished all of the core, you might as well work on boosting your survivability.
Shiva's Guard is an absolutely godly in that department, as it gives you intelligence, armour and an additional nuke to hurt opponents with. And Linken's Sphere will also give you some nice stats, while also protecting from an unexpected stun.
If you finished all that and the game is still not over, work on getting your Ethereal Blade. Ancient Seal+ Veil of Discord+ Ethereal Blade= MASSIVE HURTS for whoever is unlucky enough to attract this wombo-combo.

OMG WHY NO BLOODSTONE: Item build Justification

Like i said at the start, the guide focuses on maximising the damage potential of Skywrath Mage, while kinda negating really fixing his survivability issue. Although its risky, it really pays off if successful. You might ask why such a useful item in Force Staff is in situational - and i will answer is that the Skywrath Mage is not a carry, and can't really farm the lanes/woods later in the game, meaning you will mostly get your funding from teamfights and ganks, meaning you won't get as much, so the item order really matters. And to maximise your funds from the ganks, we will be getting offensive items which will get killing easier, and Force Staff is not really contributing in that matter. But if your opponent has too much stuns/disables, or some really painful nukes, you should get it to reposition yourself or escape upcliff, so they can't finish you off, even if you got hit with a stun after that.
Now, the ever-so-popular Bloodstone. While getting nearly-infinite mana for your nuke-spamming and getting a load of health may seem attrative, it is also ridiculously expensive, thoroughly denying anything you might have used offensively. And because of your low armor, the health you will get from it are not really worth the price. Mana and regen is still useful, but, as i said above, not worth the price, as killing the opponent before he escapes is kinda hard at lategame with only your own skills. That being said, i think it explains the proposed item-build quite nicely.

Final Thoughts

So, thats it! Thank you for reading my Skywrath Mage guide, and i hope you liked it! Rate it, share your thoughts - as i will expand it based on your feedback! Add me on Steam if you want to play some Dota with me, my Steam nickname is Tenshi'N, the same as i use here!
P.S: Also, please do check my other guide: Hyper-Viper: The guide

Upcoming Updates

19.07.2013: Am planning to add a section for build demonstration with replays of my successful games with this build. It will look the same as in my other guide.

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